Application Overview

STEP-UP applications are open annually October 1 – February 1.

Program Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet one or more of the eligibility requirements listed below.

  1. Have a disability, defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activities, as described in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
  2. Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet two or more of the following criteria:
    1. Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
    2. Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families
    3. Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years (view Lunch Program Eligibility)
    4. Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (Read about First-Generation and Continuing Generation College Students)
    5. Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell grants (view Pell Grant Eligibility)
    6. Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child (view WIC Eligibility Requirements)
    7. Grew up in one of the following areas:

General requirements

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or legal permanent resident, and give proof of personal medical/health insurance coverage throughout the duration of the program.

Academic requirements

Applicants must be enrolled as a full-time student at a U.S. accredited two-year or four-year college or university. Graduating college seniors are not eligible for the program. Students must be 18 years of age at the start of the program. Applicants must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale), although exceptions may be granted

Professional effort

This is a rigorous research program in a professional setting. All trainees are required to pursue their research training full-time, defined as 40 hours per week, throughout the duration of the program.

Application materials

  1. Application
  2. Personal Statement (600 words or less)
  3. Two letters of recommendation from academic references
    1. If a returning participant, at least one letter must be from your most recent STEP-UP mentor
  4. Academic Transcript
    1. Reflects all earned credits and grades through December.
  5. Resume